30 September 2004

Ask me for anything but time

[source, source]

Working motherhood getting you down? Fed up with living in a country where you’re made to feel like a bit of a slacker for getting pregnant?

Well, don’t move to Sweden. […]

“Swedish women don’t have it made - they still end up paying a price in terms of their career or employment. What you find, if you look closely at the figures, is that there is a pay threshold in Nordic countries below which are 80% of all women, and above which are 80% of all men.

“What is more, the glass ceiling problem is larger in family-friendly Sweden than it is in the hire-and-fire-at-will US, and it has also grown as family-friendly policies have expanded. In Sweden 1.5% of senior management are women, compared with 11% in the US.”


What has happened through the years of family-friendly policies, she [ Dr Catherine Hakim] says, is that private companies have reduced their number of female employees because they can’t afford the cost of the generous maternity packages.


Hakim, for one, can see precisely where they’re coming from: as far as she’s concerned, the story of Sweden over the past two decades is the story of a country whose small industries couldn’t foot the bill for the ideological parental-rights packages being embraced, and who have largely taken avoiding action when it has come to employing women of childbearing age.


The unpalatable fact, she says, is that there are only so many hours in the day and only so many days in the week and whatever else we expect of the UK and EU the one thing their legislation cannot give us is the one thing that working mothers so desperately crave: more time.

Gosh, imagine that — private companies reacting to incentives! Even in Sweden! Just remarkable. And what’s the heretical nonsense about there being somethings beyond the power of goverment to fix? You’d think she was an American.

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That's what happens when you help the enemy

[source, source]

The [Canadian] military ombudsman has launched a special investigation into why Canadian Forces snipers were treated like “turncoats” by their comrades after serving with American troops in Afghanistan.

The probe was started last week by Andre Marin after he received an unprecedented request from Gen. Ray Henault, chief of defence staff, The Canadian Press has learned. “It’s the first request we’ve ever had by the chief of defence staff to investigate a case,” Marin said Wednesday. “We’re taking it very seriously.”

Hailed as heroes in early 2002 by the U.S. military, the six Canadian marksmen were later given highly coveted Bronze Star medals - awards normally reserved for American soldiers who display extraordinary heroism during combat.

However, sources close to the investigation say the snipers were treated with much less than high regard when they returned to their Canadian bases, both in Afghanistan and back home.

“They were treated as outsiders and sort of turncoats,” said one source who didn’t want to be identified.

“At least three of these guys have since quit the army over their treatment.”

I wonder if it was the helping the Americans or shooting at people that made them pariahs.

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29 September 2004

All the leaks that fit our views

[source, source]

The Justice Department has charged that a veteran New York Times foreign correspondent warned an alleged terror-funding Islamic charity that the FBI was about to raid its office — potentially endangering the lives of federal agents.

The stunning accusation was disclosed yesterday in legal papers related to a lawsuit the Times filed in Manhattan federal court.


“It has been conclusively established that Global Relief Foundation learned of the search from reporter Philip Shenon of The New York Times,” Fitzgerald said in an Aug. 7, 2002, letter to the Times’ legal department.

Don’t you always help out your friends?

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"They've committed election fraud in their hearts"

[source, source]

Florida officials yesterday accused former President Jimmy Carter of a politically motivated effort to undermine voter confidence after the Democrat said in a newspaper column that the state is “likely” to repeat the voting problems that plagued the 2000 presidential election. State officials also said the former president made no attempt to get up-to-date information before writing a critical opinion piece and never tried to contact the governor’s office or that of Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood.


But Rep. Katherine Harris, the secretary of state during the 2000 fight, said that Mr. Carter “appears radically misinformed” about Florida’s election reforms since then, “or he is seeking to plant the seeds of illegitimacy for any election a Democrat does not win.”

I’m still wondering if Carter and his ilk will actually wait until the election.

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One slash of the prize

SpaceShip One had a tense but apparently successful first flight for the X-Prize. The spaceship needs to do it one more time in the next two weeks to win.

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CBS: The lies just keep coming

[source, source]

You’d think that in the midst of the terrible publicity he is getting for working closely with a partisan Democrat—bent on bringing down President Bush—that Dan Rather would have the good sense to lay off the liberal bias for a while, especially since just three weeks ago, the 72-year-old CBSer denounced the internet as “filled with rumors.”

In a story that was a textbook example of shoddy and biased reporting, CBS reporter Richard Schlesinger used:

  1. Debunked internet hoax emails
  2. Michael Moore-esque editing
  3. An unlabeled interest group member

to scare elderly “Evening” viewers into believing that the U.S. government is poised to resume the draft.

And of course, stripping all political context from anything that would reflect badly on the Democratic Party (such as not mentioning that the bills to re-instate the draft were drafted and sponsored by Democratic Party members with not a single Republican among them).

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28 September 2004

Non-fake Chalabi

[source, source]

A senior Iraqi judge said today that he had closed a case brought against Ahmad Chalabi, the former exile once backed by the Pentagon, who had been suspected of involvement in a counterfeiting operation.

The judge, Zuhair al-Maliky, said in a telephone interview that he took the action about a week-and-a-half ago because he had decided “the evidence was not enough to bring the case to trial.” If more evidence emerges, he said, the case will be reopened.

It’s interesting to compare the timeliness and thoroughness of the reporting on this vs. the original accusations.

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Too clever by half

[source, source]

Hundreds of Uzbek militants now form the bulwark of Al Qaeda’s defenses in South Waziristan. […] “The Arab militants hardly participate in the [South Waziristan] fight as they have handed over control of the battlefield to these Uzbeks. This saves their ranks from losses,” says tribesman Mohammad Noor. “They are using the Uzbeks cleverly here. Many locals are now unhappy with the Uzbeks” for drawing attacks from Pakistani forces.

Al Qaeda, like most such organziations, depends on the help and support, or at least the acquiesence of locals to maintain such safe havens and operational areas. So, as part of being “clever”, Al Qaeda is importing foreign fighters who are draining away that support? When anyone of them with a cell phone can silently inform on them?

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That's just crazy talk


U.S. Senate candidate Barack Obama suggested Friday that the United States one day might have to launch surgical missile strikes into Iran and Pakistan to keep extremists from getting control of nuclear bombs. . . .

Obama said that violent Islamic extremists are a vastly different brand of foe than was the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and they must be treated differently.

“With the Soviet Union, you did get the sense that they were operating on a model that we could comprehend in terms of, they don’t want to be blown up, we don’t want to be blown up, so you do game theory and calculate ways to contain,” Obama said. “I think there are certain elements within the Islamic world right now that don’t make those same calculations.

Barak Obama

Is Obama allowed to say that and remain in the Democratic Party?

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27 September 2004

Can't we just veto it in the Security Council?


I figure we are about two weeks away from the first article claiming that the re-election of President Bush would violate international law.

Peter Burnett

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Who asked for negotiations?

[source, source]

“Given the sensitivity, we are saying nothing,” one Downing Street official explained. Privately, Blair recognises the Bigley family’s predicament is “ghastly”, but he will not negotiate with terrorists.

This does not seem to bother the hostage-takers. They began taunting Western governments over their efforts to seek their citizens’ release from captivity. Late on Friday a fresh message appeared on a website believed to be used by al-Zarqawi which read: “What is laughable is the insistence of the ministers of all infidel nationalities on the phrase ‘no negotiations’. As if there was any question of negotiation. Far from it - they must obey the demands of the Mujahadeen. If you refuse, we slaughter.”

What’s sad is that this attitude is still a surprise to many in the West.

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The most pernicious myth in America

[source, source]

Macroeconomic model builders have finally realized what Henry Hazlitt and John T. Flynn (among others) knew in the 1930s: FDR’s New Deal made the Great Depression longer and deeper. It is a myth that Franklin D. Roosevelt “got us out of the Depression” and “saved capitalism from itself,” as generations of Americans have been taught by the state’s educational establishment.

This realization on the part of macroeconomists comes in the form of an article in the August 2004 Journal of Political Economy entitled “New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis” by UCLA economists Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian. This is a big deal, since the JPE is arguably the top academic economics journal in the world.

It’s nice to know that even top academic economic journals must eventually bow to reality.

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26 September 2004

Ain't no hiding place

[source, source]

DAMASCUS, Syria— A car bomb killed a leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Damascus on Sunday […] Police at the scene were seen retrieving pieces of the body of Izz Eldine Subhi Sheik Khalil. His death was also reported on the official Hamas Web site and by Israeli security sources.


Israel did not immediately issue a statement on the explosion. But Israeli security sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed responsibility for the killing.

Perhaps the Palestinians and their supporting states are beginning to grasp what a war to the knife with Isreal really looks like.

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25 September 2004

We pay $2B / year for what, again?

[source, source]

Egyptian Parliament members have submitted an order to Government demanding that American singer Madonna be prohibited from entering Egyptian soil.


The demand came after Madonna announced that she will celebrate the Jewish New Years in Israel and that she had converted to Judaism.

So the fact that Madonna’s public persona represents all that Islams sees as decadent in the West, it was OK for her to visit Egypt until she was tained with Jewishness. Not that the Egyptian Parliament has any judenhass!

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Gold medal effort in question leading

[source, source]

Senator, Prime Minister Allawi told Congress today that democracy was taking hold in Iraq and that the terrorists there were on the defensive. Is he living in the same fantasyland as the president?

This is the question asked by a reporter after Kerry’s response to Iraqi PM Allawi’s speech. Could the bias and disrespect for the President be any clearer?

Of course, this ties in with the press corp asking President Bush about the situation in Iraq while ignoring Allawi, who was standing right next to Bush. An obsession with attacking Bush or soft bigotry? It’s so hard to tell anymore.

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24 September 2004

Toeing the Al-Sadr line

[source, source, source]

While Kerry was relatively restrained in disputing Allawi’s upbeat portrayal, some of his aides suggested that the Iraqi leader was simply doing the bidding of the Bush administration, which helped arrange his appointment in June.

“The last thing you want to be seen as is a puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the shirt today moving the lips,” said Joe Lockhart, a senior Kerry adviser.

I guess that the famous Kerry campaign “nuance”, because Lockhart doesn’t say explicitly say that Allawi’s a Bush puppet.

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Like we have time for that!

[source, source]

The government has no idea how many of the thousands of illegal aliens from terrorist-sponsoring states it has caught at the U.S. border and released back onto America’s streets were terrorists or had ties to terror groups.

The Department of Homeland Security doesn’t even know how many were released, much less how many were suspicious. This is one of the big failures of the Bush Administration, that it seems to consider the mere existence DHS sufficient and is unconcerned about what it actually does.

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But there's no illegal campaign coordination

The terrorists’ objective is to intimidate all countries allied with America. Make them bleed and tell them this is the price they pay for being a U.S. ally. The implication is obvious: Abandon America and buy your safety.

That is what the terrorists are saying. Why is the Kerry campaign saying the same thing?

Charles Krauthammer

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23 September 2004

Almost as crazy as teachers


A terrorism response drill in Muskegon, Michigan featured an unusual enemy:

The exercise will simulate an attack by a fictitious radical group called Wackos Against Schools and Education who believe everyone should be homeschooled. Under the scenario, a bomb is placed on the bus and is detonated while the bus is traveling on Durham, causing the bus to land on its side and fill with smoke.

Homeschoolers spread the word, and the district apologized.

Well ya know, the kind of people who’d disrespect the government school system would obviously have no respect for any law, right?

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Iraqi PM Allawi's address to Congress

Today the foreign media have lost interest and left, but millions of dollars in economic aid and humanitarian assistance are now flowing into the cities. Ordinary citizens are once again free to live and worship at these places.


I know that some have speculated, even doubted, whether this date can be met. So let me be absolutely clear: Elections will occur in Iraq on time in January because Iraqis want elections on time.


They said we would miss January deadline to pass the interim constitution.

We proved them wrong.

They warned that there could be no successful handover of sovereignty by the end of June. We proved them wrong. A sovereign Iraqi government took over control two days early.

They doubted whether a national conference could be staged this August. We proved them wrong.

Despite intimidation and violence, over 1,400 citizens, a quarter of them women, from all regions and from every ethnic, religious and political grouping in Iraq, elected a national council.

And I pledge to you today, we’ll prove them wrong again over the elections.

Worth reading, The snipe at the media leaving and forgetting Iraq is worth it by itself.

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Network sizing

A good summary of various case studies on the size of terrorist networks. The most interesting conclusion is that groups of more than 80 or so members can’t remain well organized long term without the support of a state. That means that the conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq is very likely to have imposed a lot of hardship on the Caliphascists.

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22 September 2004

Why wait?

So the Kerry Campaign is already soliciting funds to pursue legal action after the election. I just wonder if they’ll wait till the votes are counted or file on general principles.

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21 September 2004

Call for an assault club ban!

[source, source]

NEW YORKERS are at least four times as likely to be punched to death than to be killed with an assault-style rifle, unpublished state crime statistics show.

The eye-opening figures — obtained by The Post from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services — reveal that New Yorkers are also at least twice as likely to be clubbed to death than shot dead by an attacker wielding one of the semi-automatic rifles previously covered by a federal government ban that expired last week.

The most recent statewide statistics — murder-by-weapon-type figures from 2002 — also show that New Yorkers are at least five times as likely to be stabbed to death with a knife than they are to be shot with an assault rifle.

But those guns are scary looking! Think of the children!

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Barbaric America

[source, source]

To the mounting horror of the world, the United States of America is relentlessly bringing about the systematic destruction of a small, unthreatening nation for no good reason. Why has this not gripped the conscience of this country?

The answer goes beyond Bush to the 60-year history of an accidental readiness to destroy the earth, a legacy with which we Americans have yet to reckon.

This is apparently considered a reasonable viewpoint in Old Media. Is there some way this cannot be considered anti-American? Why does anyone still trust or respect these people?

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Old Media cocoon watch

Remember this

we still can’t find a single American who voted for Al Gore in 2000 who is planning to vote for George Bush in 2004

from ABC News?

Now, via Pejman we have this poll for NY State

Nearly a quarter of the state’s Democrats now say they will vote for Bush.

Is there any chance that ABC News can find one of those elusive former Gore voters, or is this just the quarter of New York’s Democrats who voted for Bush in 2000?

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20 September 2004

Good tradecraft means not leaving fingerprints


Kerry aide Lockhart admits calling Burkett. Lockhart “said he does not recall talking to Burkett about Bush’s Guard records. ‘It’s baseless to say the Kerry campaign had anything to do with this,’ he said.”

Wow. A senior Kerry aide phoning the forgery-passer at the request of CBS? CBS is advising the Kerry campaign? And the Kerry campaign is following the advice? Fire them all.

My guess is that Kerry won’t be meeting with reporters tomorrow either.

Are there any classic mistakes left for CBS and it’s subsidiary the Kerry campaign to make?

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19 September 2004

The French Connection

[source source]

The Italian businessman at the centre of a furious row between France and Italy over whose intelligence service was to blame for bogus documents suggesting Saddam Hussein was seeking to buy material for nuclear bombs has admitted that he was in the pay of France.

The man, identified by an Italian news agency as Rocco Martino, was the subject of a Telegraph article earlier this month in which he was referred to by his intelligence codename, “Giacomo”.

His admission to investigating magistrates in Rome on Friday apparently confirms suggestions that - by commissioning “Giacomo” to procure and circulate documents - France was responsible for some of the information later used by Britain and the United States to promote the case for war with Iraq.

Italian diplomats have claimed that, by disseminating bogus documents stating that Iraq was trying to buy low-grade “yellowcake” uranium from Niger, France was trying to “set up” Britain and America in the hope that when the mistake was revealed it would undermine the case for war, which it wanted to prevent.

And some people think France is an ally of the USA.

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Swedish insurgency


Malmø, Sweden. The police now publicly admit what many Scandinavians have known for a long time: They no longer control the situation in the nations’s third largest city. It is effectively ruled by violent gangs of Muslim immigrants. Some of the Muslims have lived in the area of Rosengård, Malmø, for twenty years, and still don’t know how to read or write Swedish. Ambulance personnel are attacked by stones or weapons, and refuse to help anybody in the area without police escort. The immigrants also spit at them when they come to help. Recently, an Albanian youth was stabbed by an Arab, and was left bleeding to death on the ground while the ambulance waited for the police to arrive. The police themselves hesitate to enter parts of their own city unless they have several patrols, and need to have guards to watch their cars, otherwise they will be vandalized. “Something drastic has to be done, or much more blood will be spilled” says one of the locals.

If Sweden can’t keep its third largest city under control when it has large numbers of Muslims in it, why is it considered so ominous that the Coalition can’t control all the cities in Iraq with large numbers of Muslims?

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Tortoise vs. crack addled ferrets


Bush has something rare in the modern politician, a calm patience that lets him work a long term strategy.

I think he methodically lays a foundation and then gradually builds on that. Like many careful planners this makes him appear slow and plodding to those that live in the moment.

By comparison Kerry (and even looking back, Gore) looks like ferrets on crack. He seems so obsessed with mastering the immediate moment that he surrenders all continuity with both the past and the future. Long term plans disintegrate under the need to “do something right now!”

For example, Bush’s handling of the the AWOL allegations has been a masterwork of calm repetition. Every allegation is answered with, “The President fulfilled his obligations.” Its like having an argument with a grandfather clock.

I don’t think that Bush deftly guides his opponents into his chosen killing ground so much as he just lets them thrash around until they hurt themselves. He’s like a tortoise hounded by yapping lap dogs. He armors up, picks his direction and plods away while the lap dogs bounce about frantically, nipping ineffectively on his shell until they bound wrong and collide with a tree.

Shannon Love

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It's not our job to verify things

[source, source]

John Roberts, the network’s White House correspondent, called to report he’d just completed an on-camera interview with the White House communications director, Dan Bartlett. Bartlett, it appeared, had no quarrel with the authenticity of the documents.

That was the turning point.

“If we had gotten back from the White House any kind of red flag, raised eyebrow, anything that said, ‘Are you sure about this stuff?’ we would have gone back to square one,” Josh Howard, the program’s executive producer, said Friday.

OK, that’s just pathetic. It’s the responsiblity of the White House to vet documents for hostile reports on President Bush? What happened to Karl Rove, Evil Genius™?

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17 September 2004

Hurricane Eye-van


Hurricane Ivan as seen from the International Space Station, back when it was a real storm

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Mohamed ElBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the BBC that diplomacy should be given a chance to take effect.


“You need the carrot and the stick - the incentive and disincentive […]” Mr ElBaradei said.


Mr ElBaradei cautioned against creating further barriers between the country and the international community.

Yep, we need the carrot and the stick, only without the stick.

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Playing with the polls


The Los Angeles Times has a front-page story today titled: Long a Republican Bulwark, a Growing Arizona Is in Play. Not until page A20 does the paper tell us what is meant by the term “in play”:

A poll taken for the Arizona Republic and released last week showed Bush ahead of Kerry, 54% to 38%.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!! Bush leads Kerry by 16 points, and the headline says a “Republican bulwark” is “in play.”

I got news for you, L.A. Times. In California, a recent Rassmussen poll shows Kerry leading Bush, 50% to 42%. That’s a mere eight-point difference — half the spread between Bush and Kerry in Arizona.

I look forward to your front-page article tomorrow: “Long a Democratic Bulwark, a Growing California Is in Play.”

Clearly, as long as anyone in the state would vote for Kerry, it’s in play.

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It's not smart to run against your own record

[source, source]

Every self-respecting fiscal conservative will gag upon reading:

Seeking to gain ground against Sen. John Kerry, President Bush said Thursday that his Democratic opponent “wants to expand government” in education, health care, taxes and virtually every other area of domestic policy.

I will be voting for Bush—but not because I believe this talking point tripe. It wasn’t Kerry who signed into law such behemoth government expansions as the No Child Left Behind Act and the abominable Medicare prescription drug entitlement. Bruce Bartlett has more on Bush’s big government conservatism; see also here and here. W. James Antle asks: What are big government conservatives trying to conserve?

And who are they trying to kid?

How can you not view this as a flip-flop by President Bush?

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It's not supposed to be hard for us!

[source, source, source, source]

Environmental regulations are notoriously difficult to keep up with, what with all the paperwork and communication required. Just ask Greenpeace.

The radical environmental group and habitual filer of lawsuits is learning how the other side feels after prosecutors in Alaska filed criminal charges against it for violating state environmental laws. It seems a Greenpeace boat, the Arctic Sunrise, entered Alaskan water without the required oil spill prevention plan and proof of financial responsibility should a spill occur. The vessel, which can carry 128,000 gallons of fuel and lubricants (Exxon Valdez, anyone?), was sailing near Ketchikan to protest logging activities.

The state charges that when the environmental group was notified of the violations on July 14, the ship’s agent agreed to remain anchored until the situation was fixed. Instead, the Arctic Sunrise left port that very morning and went joyriding in “environmentally sensitive areas during peak salmon runs, without care or consideration for the catastrophic impacts that would occur from failure to have the necessary resources to initiate a response.” The case goes to trial in October.

As for Greenpeace, it sounds, well, positively corporate in its explanations. The organization pleaded not guilty at its arraignment. But it has also blamed its decision to go sailing on a communications mishap and noted that a “clerical error” was behind its lack of proper documentation. According to the Washington Legal Foundation, a lawyer for Greenpeace was also quoted as saying that environmental regulations are “getting to be more complicated in this day and age.” You don’t say.

Aren’t regulations only applied to the Evil Corporatist and not the Good Guys?

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16 September 2004

I only got to have one stable of ponies as a boy!

It’s really kind of funny that the latest Dem attack on Bush is based on the idea that he was a “fortunate son” with family connections. In contrast to John Kerry, who was born in a log cabin?


Yeah, I found that quite bizarre as well, given how Kerry acquired his lifestyle.

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That's a mean thing to say

Sadly, we can all probably agree that it is a cheap shot to accuse even a Democrat of supporting John Kerry.

Orrin Judd

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President Bush - everywhere you want him to be


One JDAM … $18,000

Liberating two countries and taking the war to the enemy . . . $200 billion.

Sticking it to the UN … priceless.

With apologies to David Cohen.

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The Republicans Strike Back

Alone in his meditation chamber Sith Lord Darth Rove bows before an holographic image of Emperor Bush:

Bush: There is a disturbance in the polls.
Rove: I have felt it my master.
Bush: It is the old Rather. You must destroy him.
Rove: If he could be turned to the Republican side, he could be a valuable dupe, er… powerful ally.
Bush: Can you do this?
Rove: He will join us or be cancelled!

Later on a wind swept cat walk, after a light saber slices off both hand and microphone…

Rather: I’ll never join you! Obi Wan Kerry warned me about you.
Rove: Obi Wan Kerry didn’t tell you everything.
Rather: He told me enough. He said you ruined my source.
Rather: Noooooooo !!!!!

Dan Duffy

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Left alone

Now that Republican allied 527 groups are getting some traction, Newsweek decides they are an abuse. As usual, it’s time to put a stop to things or move on when an issue is no longer working for the Democratic Party.

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Let them use sunscreen

[source, source]

Teresa Heinz Kerry, encouraging volunteers as they busily packed supplies Wednesday for hurricane relief efforts in the Caribbean, said she was concerned the effort was too focused on sending clothes instead of essentials like water and electric generators.

“Clothing is wonderful, but let them go naked for a while, at least the kids,” said Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. “Water is necessary, and then generators, and then food, and then clothes.”

Because, you know, those Caribean isles are edenic gardens where no protection is needed from Mother Nature.

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What's your hurry? Have some soup!


American Jews who do not like Bush are quick to point out that the Religious Right and President Bush are only supportive of Israel because it fits into their beliefs that there must be a state of Israel in existence when the Christian Messiah comes. […] as far as Israel is concerned, when the Messiah comes, we will have plenty of time to ask him if this is a return visit or not.

Jacky Mason and Raoul Felder

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Iraqis demonstrate against jihadis

[source, source]

Dozens of Iraqis held a demonstration in Baghdad today to express solidarity with two French reporters and two Italian aid workers held hostage by militant groups in Iraq. ”No to violence and the executions and kidnappings of foreigners”, read one banner brandished by the demonstrators. “Let us live in peace and friendship,” read another.

Leading the procession were around 50 disabled people in wheelchairs and children holding flowers.

Classic good news and bad news. The good news is the demonstration, which is wonderful. The bad news is that the AFP thinks that a demonstration with 50 people leading it counts as only “dozens”. Innumeracy, bias, or both?

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15 September 2004

I trust you twice as much as I did before


We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that’s what we are doing.

Andrew Hayward, President of CBS News

Of course. Double of nothing is still nothing.

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We're busy beavers

As we track the fake memo scandal, it’s important to remember that CBS has another recently reported story that’s cracking up. Remember the alledged Israeli spy, looking at secret documents and influencing policy? CBS hopes not.

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Did something get in the water supply?

[source, source]

The [US] State Department said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has engaged in “particularly severe violations” of religious freedom and for the first time included the kingdom, a key U.S. ally, on a list of countries that could be subject to sanctions.

A department report assessing the state of religious freedom worldwide said that in Saudi Arabia, freedom of religion does not exist and is not recognized or protected under the country’s laws.

Wow. I’m stunned.

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With a whimper

The Fallujah Brigade has been disbanded last week. It basically went over to the caliphascists due to infiltration and intimidation.

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14 September 2004

Paying experts to give you your own opinions

[source, source]

Emily Will, a veteran document examiner from North Carolina, told ABC News she saw problems right away with the one document CBS hired her to check the weekend before the broadcast.


A second document examiner hired by CBS News, Linda James of Plano, Texas, also told ABC News she had concerns about the documents and could not authenticate them.

“I did not authenticate anything and I don’t want it to be misunderstood that I did,” James said. “And that’s why I have come forth to talk about it because I don’t want anybody to think I did authenticate these documents.”

Other than these, the only expert to give a thumbs up (Marcel Matley) verified only the signature. Note that this all happened before the story was broadcast.

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Why I was destined not to succeed in academia

[source, source]

To computer science professor Andrew Appel, who has given $4,000 to Kerry this year, the imbalance is not unexpected.

“Does it surprise me that smart people should be supporting Kerry?” Appel said. “No.”

Because some things are so stupid only intellectuals will believe them. I’d put “President Kerry” in that class of things.

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I fail to see the problem

[source, source]

On Sunday, a celebrating crowd gathered around a burning U.S. armored vehicle. Then a helicopter opened fire; a child and a journalist for an Arabic TV news channel were among those killed. Later, the channel repeatedly showed the journalist doubling over and screaming, “I’m dying; I’m dying.”

I’m left with two questions.

  • Why haven’t we been doing this from day one?
  • How many times will we be able to do this before the caliphascists and their supporters stop clustering around disabled military vehicles?
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CBS Memos: how are we supposed to know where they came from?

[source, source]

“We’re having a hard time tracking how we got the documents,” says the CBS News producer. “There are at least two people in this building who have insisted we got copies of these memos from the Kerry campaign by way of an additional source. We do not have the originals, and our sources have indicated to us that we will not be getting the originals. How that is possible I don’t know.”

It’s not possible to start with Dan Rather, asking “where did you get these documents?”? Seriously, is Rather refusing to answer CBS internal staff about where he got them, or that he lead a major news report with documents that he got from a source even he didn’t know?

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13 September 2004

Can't you find any non-fake issues?

Via Tim Blair, we see that David Corn at the Nation is spreading another bogus tale.

In 1978, Bush, while running for Congress in West Texas, produced campaign literature that claimed he had served in the US Air Force. According to a 1999 Associated Press report, Bush’s congressional campaign ran a pullout ad in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal that declared he had served “in the US Air Force and the Texas Air National Guard where he piloted the F-102 aircraft.”


Karen Hughes, his spokeswoman, maintained that when Bush attended flight school for the Air National Guard from 1968 to 1969 he was considered to be on active duty for the Air Force

As it turns out, when you serve actively in the Air National Guard you are legally considered to be serving in the US Air Force as well. The Supreme Court agrees. In his defense, Corn claims that two different Pentagon spokemen told him that Air National Guard didn’t count as active duty Air Force. So at least Corn checked with people who could be reasonably presumed to know. Since Corn doesn’t state what question he asked, it may be that the spokesmen misunderstood the question. The quoted part was

“If a member of the Air National Guard is in pilot training,” says Captain Cristin Lesperance of the US Air Force media relations office, “they would remain on the Guard books. They would be counted as Guard, not as an active-duty Air Force member.”

This might well be answering just how to count up active duty personel. Certainly ANG members are kept on the Guard books, not the Air Force ones. But legally they are in the Air Force.

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Alternate delivery systems

[source, source]

Iraqi forces and the American military are increasing their surgical, often retaliatory, strikes into towns like Ramadi, Fallujah, and Samarra, where forces of Islamic extremists and of the former regime hold varying degrees of power and sway. Some have become “no-go” zones.

No-go for the troops but not for the JDAMs. Welcome to the future.

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12 September 2004

What do you want to forge today?


Microsoft Forger — a product whose time has come.

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CBS Fake Memo resource

Via Junkyard Blog we have the Center for Fake Memos providing an excellent summary of the facts and issues.

Posted by orbital at 8:34 PM | View 2 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

We can't get everything right!

[source, source]

Saturday’s edition of the Boston Globe reports that one document expert, Phillip Broussard, who had expressed suspicions about the documents, said “he now believes the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.”

Anchor Russ Mitchell of the Saturday edition of the CBS Evening News says CBS News contacted Broussard Saturday, and Broussard said he could not dismiss the documents as fake, but he needs to do more analysis before coming to a final conclusion. [emphasis added]

His name is Philip Bouffard. CBS News is not exactly covering itself in glory here, is it?

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11 September 2004

Objectivity as defined by Old Media


CBS’s standard for accusing the President of lying, corruption, fraud, dereliction of duty, etc., is “a preponderance of the evidence.”

CBS’s standard for reporting on evidence that contradicts CBS’s initial take, on the other hand, is “definitive evidence.”

I’m just surprised that CBS has any standards at all for data that damages non-Democratic Party interests.

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10 September 2004

What was I thinking?

Jeebus! Tropical storm Ivan has turned in to a cat 5 storm and as a result is devastating Grenada and Jamaica. I just realized that I had cat 5 cable put in my own house! Do I have time to evacuate the wife and kids or should I just run for it on my own?

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International forum shopping

[source, source]

The families of the three IDF soldiers who were kidnapped by Hezbollah have announced their intention to file a suit against the United Nations and the Hezbollah organization. Iran, Syria and Lebanon will also be sued in view of their support of the Lebanese terror group.

The suit will be filed in a US court by relatives of Beni Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sawaed, eight months after their bodies were returned to Israel for burial as part of the prisoner swap deal with Hezbollah.

While I sympathize with the action, I can’t see how a US court has any jurisdiction under which to bring this action. Certainly I’ve complained about this with regard to Belgium and it doesn’t look any better because the USA is involved.

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Reuters: we control the quote


Reuters quote:

Amy Sisley, an emergency room doctor at the University of Maryland Medical Center, speaking on behalf of Physicians for Social Responsibility […] said 90 percent of spinal cord injuries in the United States are caused by gunshot wounds

The actual quote

Amy Sisley, an emergency room doctor at the University of Maryland Medical Center, speaking on behalf of Physicians for Social Responsibility . . . said 90 percent of spinal cord injuries caused by violence in the United States are caused by gunshot wounds

Is Maureen Dowd writing wire stories for Reuters now?

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Speaking truth to former powers

[source, source]

Many House Democrats are expected to vote for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill today to secure the earmarks they were denied last year as punishment for voting “no.”

They say they are only voting for the bill because of a “whispering campaign” of intimidation that special projects for their districts — for schools, sewers and the like — would be stripped from the bill in conference if they vote against it.

Republicans scoff at the idea that it’s a whispering campaign, saying it’s an explicit threat and a political reality.

Can the Democratic Party simply not project their own style on their opponents? Regardless, this has to be one of the best quotes of the year.

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09 September 2004

Gunnies for nothing

[source, source]

the survey reveals the limitations of European ambitions for an independent global role. Though 71 percent of Europeans say they would like the EU to become a superpower like the US, nearly half of them drop the idea if it requires increased military spending.

That explains much. But hey - who wouldn’t want to be rich and thin if it required no effort?

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The wonders of EUlite diplomacy


The Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) follows this line of sympathy for the barbaric version of Islam with the article “A less cruel execution” by Katajun Amirpur. The article reports as a success of the “European-Iranian human rights dialog” that a 16-year-old girl will not be stoned to death, but rather hanged. Her “crime”: pre-marital sex. With unmistakable pride, Amirpur writes that “the official age of marriage… after delicate negotiations between reformers and conservatives, was raised from 9 to 10 years”.

As noted later on, the EUlite whip themselves into a frenzy at the thought of the USA having a death penalty, yet lavish love on Cuba and Iran and count themselves “successful” to have a minor girl hanged instead of stoned for engaging in what the EUlite views as completely normal behaviour. And these are supposed to be the sophisticated moral arbiters of humanity?

Posted by orbital at 7:57 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Just haven't got a clue, have they?

[source, source]

How ridiculous is the notion that private citizens should be able to tote machine guns? […] Most Americans — Democrats and Republicans — are against claiming Second Amendment protections for these guns and support the federal assault weapons ban.

Of course, the assault weapons ban has nothing whatsoever to do with machine guns. How can an alledgely professional newspaper get something so basic so wrong? Oh, right — that kind of answers itself, doesn’t it?

Posted by orbital at 6:52 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Foreign policy choices

[source, source]

Frivolous lawsuits have long been used as weapons of the powerful against the weak; a particularly egregious example is now playing out in Texas, courtesy of one of John Kerry’s most controversial supporters: the Iranian Hassan Nemazee. Nemazee is pursuing a ten-million-dollar damage claim against the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran (SMCCDI) and its coordinator, Aryo B. Pirouznia. A Nemazee victory in this suit would almost certainly muzzle or destroy altogether the SMCCDI, one of the most energetic and courageous opponents of Iran’s entrenched but uneasy mullahocracy. […]

Senator Kerry has a long history of siding with regimes hostile to the USA and the Iranian regime is no exception.

Posted by orbital at 6:12 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

A day in the death spiral

Let’s see - Sharon Bush is denying she ever said to Kitty Kelly that Bush used coke, the newly found documents against Bush’s TANG service are being called forgeries, and Teresa is calling people idiots. Another successful day for the Kerry campaign.


Posted by orbital at 11:46 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

No war for oil!

[source, source]

France’s corrupt dealings with Saddam flourished throughout the 1990s, despite the strict arms embargo against Iraq imposed by the United Nations after the Persian Gulf war.

By 2000, France had become Iraq’s largest supplier of military and dual-use equipment, according to a senior member of Congress who declined to be identified.

The story here is not what France did but that there’s now hard proof of it.

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A question of perspective


When we get to 1,000 dead police officers and fire fighters should we abandon our cities?


Posted by orbital at 7:23 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

08 September 2004

The start of another bad week for Kerry

[source, source]

Steve Pitkin never intended to speak at the Winter Soldier Investigation. He agreed to come to Detroit with John Kerry and Scott Camil in January of 1971 mostly to support his fellow veterans, but also to see David Crosby and Graham Nash perform and hopefully meet a few girls. He didn’t really have any place else to go.


On the second day of the conference, Pitkin was surrounded by a group of the event’s leaders, who said they needed more witnesses and wanted him to speak. Pitkin protested that he didn’t have anything to say. Kerry said, “Surely you had to have seen some of the atrocities.” Pitkin insisted that he hadn’t, and the group’s mood turned menacing. One of the other leaders leaned in and whispered, “It’s a long walk back to Baltimore.” Pitkin finally agreed to “testify.” The Winter Soldier leaders told Pitkin exactly what they wanted —- stories about rape, brutality, shooting prisoners, and racism. Kerry assured him that “the American people will be grateful for what you have to say.”


Steve Pitkin wants to apologize to Vietnam veterans for what he did and said at the Winter Soldier Investigation. “The VVAW found me during a difficult time in my life, and I let them use me to advance their political agenda. They pressured me to tell their lies, but that’s no excuse for what I did. I just want people to know the truth and to make amends as best I can. I’d hate to see the troops serving today have to go through what Vietnam veterans did.”

No wonder Senator Kerry wants to focus on his time in Vietnam and not his subsequent career. It’s worth reading the entire account.

Posted by orbital at 5:19 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

No conversation allowed


Bangledeshi journalist Salah Choudhury has been imprisoned in his home nation for nine months. His crime? Planning to attend a writers’ symposium in Israel last December, where he was to deliver a speech calling for greater Jewish-Muslim understanding.

Michael Freund at the Jerusalem Post has more, including action items at the end.

I think this demonstrates which side is concerned about the unsupportable illogic of its position.

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Watcher's Council recruiting

The Watcher’s Council is recruiting for a new member. This is a cooperative venture to highlight good posts inside and outside of the group via mutual links.

Posted by orbital at 5:09 PM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

NY Times -- we control the quotes

[source, source]

The wire services reported, in a quote printed in thousands of newspapers, that the captured Beslan terrorist said, “By Allah, I did not shoot.”

Today’s [New York] Times piece quotes him as saying, “By God, I did not shoot”—a translation that no other news organization has used.

In other words, the Times wanted so badly to leave Islam out of its Beslan feature that it altered the terrorist’s quote.

It’s not like the guy’s going to complain about the misquote, right?

Posted by orbital at 1:23 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Playing our hand in Korea

[President] Bush is playing Korea perfectly. North Korea has played a very interesting game in the South. Korea might be the most racist society on earth. It is commonplace for interracial orphans to ‘die’ under State care. For centuries, Koreans used to kill any non-Korean who showed up there. North Korean operatives in the South encourage this kind of racism in the schools, unions and universities, and use it as a means of directing the hatred against Americans. The presence of two Koreas is taught in South Korean schools as not being the result of the Kims being loony, but instead as the effect of foreigners interfering in Korean affairs. If the evil Americans would just leave, everything would be all right.

Most Koreans don’t buy into this claptrap, but a significant minority of liberal arts majors, artsy-fartsy types, unskilled workers and other losers do.

The Bush Administration, on its own timetable, has made it clear that South Korean national security is primarily a South Korean affair. We are happy to help, and our economy would be affected by a conquest of the South by the North. However, the South Korean leadership is fully aware that we and the Japanese would muddle through.

You will note that the anti-American rhetoric there has gone way down in the last year or so.

So, why is announcing troop pull-outs now better than doing so a year ago?

Because in this way it doesn’t appear to be America fleeing a ‘popular revolt’ of students, pseudo-intellectuals, etc, which would lead to political disruption in South Korea. Because the move is not the product of American weakness and ‘imperial overstretch.’ Because it reflects the result of discussions with the South Koreans concerning a better, more effective, less internally disruptive means of defending the ROK, still achieving the same goal. Because it shows that we are treating South Korea as an ally, not a colony, in that we did not move precipitously and unilaterally.

The delay cost us very little, South Korean defense remains unchanged, America’s commitment to assist the defense of its East Asian friends remains in place, and the protestors have been made irrelevant. The move, and the prolonged discussion in the Korean media before it happened, forced a discussion of the true nature of North Korea, opening up the eyes of many average Koreans to the realities of life. It also panicked Korean Big Business, and they went into action with a ‘We Love America’ campaign.

Bart, from the Brothers Judd

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We'll decide what the story is

After resisting till the bitter end the Swiftboat Veterans’ story and then only covering the parts that supported Senator Kerry, Old Media in the form of CBS and Dan Rather is gearing up to promote a single sourced story about President Bush’s National Guard service. The single source is a major contributor to the Democratic Party, but clearly he’s more credible than the entire group of the SBVfT.

Posted by orbital at 9:10 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

07 September 2004

Aren't the incumbents supposed to do this?


The CIA’s Counterterrorist Center has spent more than $15 million in the past three years funding studies, reports and conferences produced by former Democratic administration officials and other critics of the Bush administration.


“The products of the [center] have a consistent theme: They criticize the Bush administration and provide ammunition for the Kerry campaign,” said one U.S. official who has read the resulting reports and studies.

Is this how the ISI got its start?

Posted by orbital at 7:38 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Well, then, it's super double mega revenge!

[source, source]

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia warned Israel on Tuesday that that its deadly air strike in Gaza overnight will invite a response from Hamas and that any retaliation for the killings of 14 members of the militant group will be justified.

As if any of the preceeding terror attacks didn’t have their own “justification” anyway. At what point do these rote declarations of “revenge” start to just sound silly?

Posted by orbital at 7:35 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Is attendance not required either?

[source, source]

A businesswoman has been banned from asking for ‘hard-working’ staff in a job ad because it discriminates against the lazy.

Beryl King was told by a Jobcentre that her advert for warehouse workers discriminated against people who were not industrious.

Don’t print advertisements discriminate against the illiterate?

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An atrocity too far?

[source, source]

Events in Beslan have had an unusual and unexpected impact in Chechnya. The local population, which had largely backed the actions by Chechen terrorists, seems to have turned against them. Separatists’ families, including those of anti-Russian resistance leaders such as Maskhadov, Basayev, Umarov –who are thought to have orchestrated the Beslan attack– have publicly condemned the actions of their relatives.

This kind of thing is the only hope for Islam.

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Kerry media dependency watch

[source, source]

The attacks on Kerry by the swift boat group, however, have stunned many in the camp and left Kerry frustrated that the media have not dismissed the charges as unsubstantiated.

Yes, clearly it’s not the job of the campaign staff to provide counter-evidence about such charges. The media should simply suppress such inconveniences.

Posted by orbital at 10:14 AM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

06 September 2004

When I hear a word, it means what I choose it to mean


Yet another blatant falsehood by the Associated Press

“It’s a fact — as a child he could not have seen a Soviet tank in Styria,” the southeastern province where Schwarzenegger was born and raised, historian Stefan Karner told the Vienna newspaper Kurier.

The problem being that Schwarzenegger never claimed to have seen a Soviet tank in Styria, but in Austria. It’s like claiming someone tale of seeing corn fields in Illinois is false because there isn’t any in Chicago. On the other hand, perhaps the AP would report it that way…

The actual quote [emphasis added]

When I was a boy, the Soviets occupied part of Austria. I saw their tanks in the streets. I saw communism with my own eyes. I remember the fear we had when we had to cross into the Soviet sector.

Posted by orbital at 7:35 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

04 September 2004

No hit backs!

[source, source]

European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana criticised on Friday Israeli threats against Syria following Palestinian suicide bombings this week that killed 16 people.

“I don’t think it’s helpful to start talking about attacking new countries. The situation in the Middle East is complicated enough,” Solana told reporters on arriving for an EU foreign ministers’ meeting in the Netherlands.


Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos also urged restraint.

“We will try (to work things out so) that we don’t initiate spillover on the region” […] he told reporters.

Who’s this “we”, Euro-weenie boy?

Posted by orbital at 10:24 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Kerry campaign problems? It's Bush's fault!

[source, source]

George Bush is a master at disguising the punch.

In 2000, he fooled Al Gore into underestimating his talent as a politician, causing Mr Gore to overreach.

This time, he has forced John Kerry to have the wrong conversation with the voters.

“Forced”, eh? Back to the “evil genius” mode I see. I’m sure that an RNC commando squad broke in to Senator Kerry’s house, kidnapped the hamster an left a note saying “talk about Vietnam or the hamster gets it!”.

Posted by orbital at 8:11 PM | View 1 Comments | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

03 September 2004

Why can't I edit reality?

[source, source ]

The current version of a story by the AP:

WEST ALLIS, Wis. - President Bush (news - web sites) on Friday wished Bill Clinton (news - web sites) “best wishes for a swift and speedy recovery.” “He’s is in our thoughts and prayers,” Bush said at a campaign rally.

The original version added the line “Bush’s audience of thousands in West Allis, Wis., booed. Bush did nothing to stop them.”. Here’s a sound clip if you want to listen yourself. I didn’t hear any booing. Based on that and other accounts from people there, the only explanation seems to be the reporter flat out made it up. Yet, like the plastic turkey I expect this will go on in snide comments for months, if not years.

I wonder if this kind of blatant falsification is a sign of desperation or a final break from any connection to objectivity.

Posted by orbital at 4:53 PM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Making it, big time


Only three months after the controversial release of Moveable Type Developer Edition 3.0, Six Apart announced on Wednesday its release of Version 3.1 of its popular blogging software.

Wow. Movable Type announcements are now stories in Yahoo’s technology news stream.

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I thought they'd hold the gates against the barbarians!


Yet one aide said Kerry privately conceded that he, like most of his top staff, miscalculated the impact of the attacks by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the influence of 24-hour cable news in shaping public opinion, and thought the controversy would blow over. One Kerry friend said the candidate focuses on more traditional news outlets and lacks a sophisticated understanding of modern media. “You would think he would have recognized this five years ago,” the friend said.

This is just another way of saying that the Kerry campaign was counting on Old Media to suppress any blowback from the focus on Vietnam. It also implies that the campaign doesn’t think there’s any meat on the SBVfT claims, which is very odd if the campaign has admitted to some of them.

Posted by orbital at 11:42 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

02 September 2004

And your point is?


Female civil servants in eastern China have been banned from wearing sexy clothes and told not to use “dirty” language in the office.


The report also recommended women should adopt manners in line with their professional positions.

“They should use elegant language, avoid rude words and must not in any case use dirty or strange words,” it said.

“When they receive guests or speak on the phone, they must say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’,” the report said.

OK, this is apparently “news” for some reason. It seems like a fine idea to me, since it applies only to government employees while they are at work. I guess it’s a novelty to the British these days that this kind of thing would be expected from employees?

Posted by orbital at 1:37 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

01 September 2004

The end of history explained

Alright. Here’s how it works. It order to be rich enough to dream of fighting the United States, you have to become the United States. Of course, by that time you won’t want to fight the United States. You don’t want to become the United States? Not to worry: plenty of room on the ash-heap of history.

Lou Gots

Posted by orbital at 10:16 PM | View 1 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Krugman finally loses it

[source, source]

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says he believes the United States needs a “mega-Watergate” scandal to uncover a far-reaching right-wing conspiracy, going back forty years, to gain control of the U.S. government and roll back civil rights.

If only it were true!

Posted by orbital at 9:31 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Dance dance revolution!


John Perry Barlow, however, was mysteriously absent—last we heard (and this is hearsay—Barlow was apparently SMSing members of the crowd) he was running from police after one of his “guerilla dancing” protests.

Probably hauled off the gulag on President Bush’s ranch in Crawford for the high political crime of dancing near a Republican.

Posted by orbital at 1:29 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Help help I'm being oppressed!

[source, source]

In my day, protesters were mostly bearded, lithe and sensitive. Now they are bearded, fat and smug. Back then, demonstrators had firehoses directed at them, not fawning television interviewers. Did you see those jolly marchers in New York, staging their anti-Bush carnival of absolutely safe, no-risk, self-congratulatory dissent?

When we marched against the Vietnam War, and the young men among us publicly burnt their draft cards, we could expect real punishment and victimisation, not lionisation by the Cannes Film Festival. The draft-defying men were committing a federal crime and risking imprisonment. Some of them had to live in exile in Canada for years - a truly awesome punishment - as the price of their youthful conscience.

This is a wonderful capture of the faux-oppressed dissenters, who when criticized in public consider themselves brothers in suffering of inhabitants of a gulag.

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